Spain Park beats Hewitt-Trussville, clinches regional berth

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

MOUNTAIN BROOK – In the second year under head coach Chris Laatsch, the Spain Park Jaguars have taken major strides in the right direction, and on Thursday, Feb. 6, they may have taken their biggest step yet.

Taking on Hewitt-Trussville in the first round of the Class 7A, Area 6 tournament, the Jaguars used a 20-point first quarter to grab a lead and pull away for a dominant 63-38 victory to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in four years.

They also advanced to the area championship game against Mountain Brook on Saturday night with the win.

It marks an impressive turnaround for a team that hasn’t had a winning season since the 2015-16 season and finished last year at 7-23 with just two area wins. With the victory over the Huskies, Spain Park improved to 19-11 this year and grabbed a fourth area win on the season.

That 20-point first quarter that helped kick start the night was largely thanks to the play of Cam Crawford, who posted eight of his team high 16 points in the period.

Spain Park also showed up on the defensive end of the floor, giving up just four field goals and nine points to take a 20-9 lead at the end of the quarter.

Hewitt continued to find holes in the Jaguars’ defense in the second quarter only putting up eight points, as the Huskies failed to match their first-quarter total of nine points.

The Jags, however, continued to find success on the offensive end thanks to 3-pointers from J.R. Lambert and Jacob Jenkins, while Colin Turner scored six himself to help the team post 14 and take a 17-point advantage into the half.

Coming out of the break, however, Hewitt turned up the physicality level. The Huskies started grabbing steals and coming down with rebounds with the aggressive game plan, which led to Spain Park only scoring nine points in the quarter.

Hewitt tried to take advantage, but Spain park continued to maintain the lead throughout the period, as the Huskies never could put together a lengthy enough run with just 11 points in the frame.

That kept the Jags in front 43-28 going to the final quarter, which saw Spain Park have to put the game away at the line. The Jaguars went on to make 14 of their 19 free throws in the final quarter to close out the 15-point win.

Behind Crawford’s 16 points, Lambert added 13, Turner had 11 and Jenkins posted 10 in a very balanced offensive attack.